Throughout the 14 years of the Indian Premier League, the art of batting has evolved, and we have witnessed some extraordinary hitting from the best in the world. Be it the brute force of Gayle or Russell, the class of Kohli and KL or the inventiveness of De Villiers, there have been some truly jaw-dropping innings played by batters over the years. Narrowing it down to the top five was no easy task given the quantum of fantastic innings played over 14 years of IPL matches, but here are our top five knocks in the history of the Indian Premier League.
5. Kieron Pollard 87* (34) vs CSK, 2021
Starting at number five, we have Kieron Pollard’s blistering innings of 87* from 34 balls against the Chennai Super Kings in Delhi in IPL 2021, a knock that will go down as one of the most iconic innings in IPL history. Pollard walked in with the Mumbai Indians reeling at 81-3 in 10 overs while chasing an astronomic 219, and the Trinidadian took it upon himself to win the game for Mumbai. Pollard hit six fours and eight towering sixes in his knock of 87*, clinching the victory for the reigning champions with a six off the final delivery of the match from Lungi Ngidi. Pollard’s blitzkrieg will go down in IPL folklore as one of the best displays of power-hitting that this tournament has seen.
4. Chris Gayle 175* (66) vs PWI, 2013
At number four, we have a Chinnaswamy special played by the Universe Boss, Christopher Henry Gayle. It was raining sixes in Bangalore in 2013 as Gayle scored the fastest century in the history of the Indian Premier League in only 30 deliveries. The West Indian hit 17 sixes on his way to 175*, the highest score in the history of the IPL. This was Chris Gayle was at the peak of his powers, where it felt like he could hit every ball out of the ground at will and leave opposition IPL team captains clueless with what to do. Gayle’s onslaught also helped RCB score the highest total in the history of the competition – 263 – and the only reason his innings is not higher than number four is that the bowling attack he faced was not of the highest quality (Ishwar Pandey, Ali Murtaza, Aaron Finch, Ashok Dinda and Mitchell Marsh).
3. Shane Watson 117* (57) vs SRH, 2018
At number three comes Shane Watson’s scintillating century in the 2018 Indian Premier League final against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. Watson scored 117* off 57 balls – the highest score in an IPL final – as he helped CSK seal their third title in style on their much-awaited return to the IPL. What is so fascinating about this innings is that Watson scored no runs off his first 10 deliveries before going almost radioactive for the rest of the innings. He also didn’t just tear apart any bowling line-up, this was the best bowling attack in the tournament that included Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, peak Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma.
2. Suresh Raina 87 (25) vs KXIP, 2014 (Qualifier 2)
At number two is Suresh Raina’s audacious knock of 87 (25) against KXIP in the Qualifier 2 of IPL 2014, an innings that encapsulated Raina’s strengths and ability to pull out a performance when his team needed it the most in the IPL. Needing 227 to reach the final, Raina came out all guns blazing and dismantled the KXIP bowling attack to all parts of the ground. He helped CSK score a massive 100 runs in the powerplay and was on course to score the fastest IPL century. Unfortunately for the men in yellow, it took a magnificent piece of fielding from the Kings XI Punjab captain George Bailey to stop Suresh Raina, with the Australian running out the number three to derail the Chennai chase.
1. Brendon McCullum 158* (73), vs RCB 2008
And finally, at number one, we have to go all the way back to the first-ever IPL match in 2008. With the entire world watching, Brendon McCullum took the Indian Premier League by storm in the tournament curtain-raiser. He changed the game and set the tone for what was to come, scoring an incredible 158* off just 73 balls for the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Kiwi smashed ten fours and 13 sixes in an innings which kicked off the Indian Premier League in dramatic fashion, setting up 14 years of nonstop excitement and rewriting the history of a sport that was in desperate need of a makeover.